101 - Warbeasts

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This article is part of Warmachine University's Crash Course (101) series, which is "Basic Training" aimed at new players who are still learning the core rules.
 
The 101 series is intended to help you understand the rulebook, but you shouldn't be reading this instead of the rulebook.


This article is a recap of the Warbeast rules. (For a verbatim copy of the rules, refer to Warbeast.) If you've just read the 101 article on Warjacks, you'll find this article is very similar; the only real differences are how warbeasts generate fury.

Ice Troll warbeast from the Trollblood faction.

Warbeasts are powerful weapons of war, that are turned up to eleven when properly controlled by their warlock. They have a swathe of special rules, mostly to do with how they interact with their warlock, generate fury points, and making Power Attacks.

Mostly they are the big, hulking brawlers of the battlefield (although smaller, support-style ones do exist). They are immensely strong, crush bones and grind enemies to dust. If equipped with ranged attacks, they are the most powerful guns that can be mounted.

Basic Rules

Controlled

You cannot take warbeasts by themselves. Instead warbeasts must be bossed around by either your main warlock or a lesser warlock. You have to decide which it will be when you write your army list.

Warbeasts & fury

    Generating fury    

A warbeast can be forced, which will both give the warbeast a benefit and generate a fury for the warlock to use later. The restrictions on getting forced are:

  • A warbeast can only be forced during its activation - except for when it shakes an effect.
  • The warbeast needs to be in its warlock's control range.
  • It needs to have a non-crippled spirit.
  • If its current fury points are already equal to its FURY stat, it can no longer be forced.

The benefits a warbeast can gain are:

  • During the Control Phase, after leeching and doing frenzy checks, a warbeast can shake knockdown, stationary, Blind, and other shake-able effects.
  • Warbeasts can buy/boost attacks similar to the way warlocks can, described above.
  • Warbeasts must be forced to run or charge (nearly all the other model types in the game can run/charge for free).
  • Warbeasts can be forced if they want to perform a Power Attack. Most of the time, though, they're better off to make their normal attacks (which they can do for free).
  • Warbeasts can be forced to cast their animus as a spell. Each animus will have a COST listed, which is how much fury the warbeast will generate when it casts that animus.
  • Lastly, warbeasts can be riled for fury, even if it runs. Buy/boosting attacks, running/charging, or making a power attack will give the beast 1 fury each time. Riling it will give the beast as much as you want - essentially its a way to stockpile fury ready for your next turn.

    Depleting fury    

Fury does not auto-expire. The main way you get rid of fury from a warbeast is by the warlock leeching it at the start of the turn, as described above. There are various other fury-management tools such as Serenity, Soothing Song, Consume Fury, etc.

If you don't get rid of all the fury points on your warbeast, then you need to do a Frenzy check at the start of your next turn (see below).

Warbeast health

Examples of warbeast damage spirals

Most models in the game just have a health bar, but warbeasts have a damage spiral. This spiral has six branches, labelled 1 to 6. Some of the branches merge near the centre of the spiral. When you damage a warbeast, you roll a dice to see which spiral takes the damage. You start at the outside of the spiral and work inwards, and then overlap to the next spiral to the clockwise.

The six spirals are divided into 3 aspects: Body, Mind, and Spirit. If an entire branch is knocked out, that aspect becomes crippled and the warbeast suffers these effects:

  • Crippled Body - The warbeast rolls one fewer die on damage rolls.
  • Crippled Mind - The warbeast rolls one fewer die on attack rolls.
    Additionally, the model cannot make chain attacks, power attacks, or special attacks.
  • Crippled Spirit - The warbeast cannot be forced.

When you heal a warbeast, you can heal any spiral in any order.

Frenzy

After your warlock has leeched fury, if any warbeasts still have any fury on them, that warbeast must take a threshold check.

Roll 2d6, add the warbeast's current fury points, and compare it to the warbeast's threshold (THR) stat.
  • If the roll is less than or equal to the THR, then the warbeast behaves normally this turn.
  • If the roll is greater than the THR, it frenzies.

When it frenzies:

  1. It immediately activates.
  2. Without being forced, it automatically shakes knockdown, stationary, and any other effects that can be shaken.
    A frenzied warbeast also ignores effects that would cause it to forfeit its Normal Movement or Combat Action during an activation in which it frenzies.
  3. It immediately charges directly toward the closest model (friend or foe) in its line of sight without being forced.
    The frenzied warbeast cannot voluntarily stop its movement before contacting its charge target.
  4. It makes one attack against the model it charged with the highest-POW melee weapon that has range to the target.
    The attack roll is automatically boosted.
    If the warbeast moved at least 3˝ during the charge, the attack is a charge attack and its damage roll is boosted.
    A frenzied warbeast cannot make Assault ranged attacks or additional attacks.
  5. At the end of the warbeast’s frenzy activation, it is no longer frenzied and you can remove any number of fury points from it.

Frenzies happen during the Control Phase of the turn, but you can't activate the warbeast later in the normal Activation Phase. The warbeast can't use or trigger any optional effects (such as Snacking or Sidestep), but it must trigger compulsory effects (such as Berserk).

Interaction with warlocks

Interaction

Unlike their warjack counterparts, the interaction of 'lock and 'beast is very important.

  • Warbeasts are the normal source of fury tokens, which a warlock needs to get from the beast if they want to do anything useful.
  • Warbeasts out of control range can't normally generate fury nor attack very well.
  • Every warbeast has an animus which is a spell they can cast, and their warlock also gets access to that spell while the beast is alive.
    This means changing which 'beasts you put in your army can change what your warlock can do.

Battlegroup

When you build your army list you assign warbeasts to be in your warlock's battlegroup. In fact, you have to assign a minimum number to each battlegroup. A caster can only force fury to, and leech fury from, their warbeasts. Also many spells/feats only affect battlegroup models (such as Energizer).

A battlegroup is a shared noun, a bit like the word "team"; the warbeasts are in the warlock's battlegroup, but also the warlock is in the warbeast's battlegroup.

It is possible to add more warbeasts to your battlegroup mid-game, but only if that warbeast's original controller died earlier in the game. This doesn't happen very often, especially in beginner games, so we won't cover it here. Instead it is detailed in the intermediate lesson LPG - Death of a Controller.

Advanced Rules

Gargantuans

The gargantuans are the largest and most powerful warbeasts ever to stride the battlefield. As a result of their great size and raw power, there are a number of special rules that apply to gargantuans but not to smaller warbeasts.

Due to their extra complexity, we cover them in the intermediate training article LPG - Colossals & Gargantuans. Or you can read the verbatim rules on the warjack article.

Rules Clarifications

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification:  : Warbeast      (Edit)
(Click Expand to read)

See also the Warbeast page for a recap of the core warbeast rules.
  • Forcing
    • If an ability doesn't specify how much it costs to force, it costs 1. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Animi
    • A single Animus can be on several models at the same time. (Infernal Ruling)
    • Unlike in Mk2, in Mk3 if a model has an animus on it from any source and then another animus is cast on that model, it will lose the first instance of an animus and will be replaced by the second. It does not matter if either the first animus or the second animus is from a warlock or warbeast. (Infernal Ruling)
    • An animi cast by a warlock is an animi and a spell. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Transferring Damage
    • If both the warlock and the warbeast are damaged by the same attack (such as an AOE), then you need to apply the 'normal' damage to the warbeast before the transferred damage. This distinction can be important when you're working out who/what actually destroyed the beast. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Frenzy (Edit)
    • You cannot trigger optional abilities (such as Cleave or Sprint). (Infernal Ruling)
    • You must trigger compulsory abilities (such as Consume) ... except for compulsory abilities that also generate an extra attack (such as Berserk). In that case, you don't get the Berserk attack. (Infernal Ruling)
    • A warbeast may not make an Assault shot as part of a Frenzy activation.
    • If the closest target to a warbeast resolving a Frenzy cannot be charged, then the warbeast will forfeit movement and action (as per the rules of having to charge and not being able to). (Infernal Ruling)
    • If a frenzying warbeast can't reach its charge target (because the charge lane is blocked by terrain, etc) then it will make a failed charge and end its activation. (Locked thread)
    • If a frenzying warbeast has two melee weapons with the same POW, it can choose which one to use. (Infernal Ruling)

See Also

War-Nouns   (Edit)
Warmachine (Focus)
Recap for Newbies Official rules Category
Warcaster 101 - Warcasters Warcaster Category: Warcaster
"Junior Warcaster" Battlegroup Controller Category: Battlegroup Controller
'Jack Marshal LPG - 'Jack Marshal 'Jack Marshal Category: 'Jack Marshal
Warjack 101 - Warjacks Warjack Category: Warjack
Colossal LPG - Colossals & Gargantuans Colossals Category: Colossal Warjack
Vector LPG - Convergence Vector Category: Vector
Monstrosity LPG - Cephalyx Monstrosity Category: Monstrosity
Other LPG - Death of a Controller
Hordes (Fury)
Recap for Newbies Official rules Category
Warlock 101 - Warlocks Warlock Category: Warlock
Lesser Warlock Lesser Warlock Category: Lesser Warlock
Warbeast 101 - Warbeasts Warbeast Category: Warbeast
Gargantuan LPG - Colossals & Gargantuans Gargantuans Category: Gargantuan Warbeast
Other LPG - Death of a Controller
Infernals (Essence)
Recap for Newbies Official rules Category
Infernal Master LPG - Infernals Category: Infernal Master
Master Infernalist Master Infernalist Category: Master Infernalist
Horror LPG - Infernals Category: Horror